LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The Sunday night, 6 September, prime time finale of the XXVII WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup at historic Koshien Stadium in Osaka generated a nationwide sensation across Japan, outperforming the nation’s most popular television programmes during some of the most valuable prime-time hours, according to multiple media reports.

A snapshot into Japan’s biggest region, Kanto, which has a potential reach of 18.1 million households, showed the electric and close-fought youth baseball world championship finale between the U-18 National Teams of host nation Japan (world No. 1) and the United States (world No. 2) generated an average TV rating of 18.6 and spiked to an incredible 27.2 during the final moments of the game, which ran just under three hours from 18:30 to 21:24 JST.

The thrilling U-18 world championship finale, attended by over 15,000 in-stadium spectators, was featured live and free-to-air across Japan on TV Asahi, one of the most wide-reaching broadcasting networks in Japan. Deciding to feature the finale live and in prime time against other popular programmes in Japan, TV Asahi executives were praised by the broadcast industry for their shrewd decision to offer blanket coverage through their terrestrial channels nationwide.

Online viewers from 93 countries and territories worldwide tuned in to the finale of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup via live-stream.

According to Twitter Japan, the 2015 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup finale was the second highest trending topic on Twitter in Japan on the night of 6 September, with celebrities, pop singers, authors, fans and Nippon Professional Baseball clubs sharing in the real-time thrilling moments.

A record 4.2 million impressions were generated through WBSC’s official Twitter account (@wbsc), the highest ever one-day reach for WBSC.

The highlight video of the United States’ 2-1 world championship victory over Japan at Koshien Stadium has become the most viewed video across WBSC’s official platforms, having been viewed over 1.2 million times to date.

“The credit for the excitement and impressive viewership ratings belong to the athletes and to the National Federations whose difficult task it is to identify and select the next generation of young, elite athletes to represent their countries at the highest level,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari, “and also to our broadcast partners who are vital in promoting the exposure of our sport globally. The outstanding showing in Osaka highlights the power of our youth base, the bright future our sport has and the future generation of superstars who will help lead our sport to new heights.”

The strong ratings of the U-18 youth baseball flagship finale come at a time when the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are evaluating a shortlist of sports, baseball and softball included, to potentially add to the Olympic Programme, to enhance engagement levels and add youth appeal, among other criteria.

The XXVI WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2013 in Taichung, Taiwan had a potential broadcast reach of 144 million homes and potential online/mobile reach of 20 million users. A full report on the overall broadcast reach of the 2015 edition will be complied and released in the coming weeks, and it is anticipated that the 2013 numbers will be surpassed.